Tuesday, January 22, 2013
ITALIAN JOB, THE (2003)
(May 2003, U.S.)
Perhaps the most pleasureable element of enjoying a good heist movie is that it gives the everyday morally and ethically honest person an opportunity to truly root for the bad guys; mainly the thieves who are stealing what doesn't belong to them. In many cases, the actions are quite justified because the targets are often the corrupt government, the casinos of Las Vegas or society's-disgustingly-step-on-the-little-guy-filthy-rich! Either way, it's admittedly lots of fun to watch the carefully-planned heist carried out to perfection, and if you're lucky, there may be some surprises along the way...and if you're real, real lucky, you get to stare at Charlize Theron in a black tank top (how come none of MY cable TV service people ever looked like her??).
THE ITALIAN JOB is an American remake of the 1969 British film of the same name, and is about a team of thieves who plan to steal gold from a former associate who double-crossed them during the original gold heist in Italy. Despite the shared title, the plot and characters of this film differ from those of its original source material. I must confess I tried to watch the original Michael Caine film some time ago, but got rather bored midway through it and never finished it, so I have no real frame of reference or comparison. Like most heist films, you have a team of experts in very specific fields of operation, be it explosives, safe cracking or computer hacking. Those cliches don't let you down here. In fact, it's pretty cool to watch the computer hacking nerd Lyle (played by Seth Green) completely fuck up the street signals of Los Angeles in order to pave the way for their target to drive to destination. Edward Norton as Steve, the team traitor and intended target is everything you want in a bad guy; ruthless, paranoid and murderous. This simply makes it a lot more fun to watch the guy not only loose his gold, but also get "taken care of" in the proper justifyable fashion.
Though not the greatest heist film I've ever seen (actually, I still haven't given that one a real title yet), THE ITALIAN JOB is unique in the fact that it offers the viewers the fun of not one job, but two. We know these thieves are good at their job and we know we'll enjoy watching them at work multiple times with the same high-tech tactics to acquire their target. The new and most exciting element, however, is undenyably the use of those Mini Coopers during the chase scenes. In a world where size matters most, this is a case where smaller definitely works for the better (you see - QUALITY, not quantity). It's all pure movie escapism, but with the added bonus of a more skilled professional level of story and performance...for a heist movie, anyway.
Favorite line or dialogue:
Steve: "What do you want?"
Stella Bridger: "You know this was never about the gold."
Steve: "Whatever helps you sleep at night, sweetheart!"